For a relatively small area, the laundry room makes a significant contribution to a household's overall environmental impact. Key issues include:
Energy consumed by heating the water used for washing clothes (as well as drying them), and associated energy conservation opportunities
Material waste and additional transportation-related energy use associated with inefficient packaging (such as detergent bottles containing mostly water)
Human health and ecological concerns about exposures to some laundry detergent ingredients
Phosphates, once a source of water quality problems in laundry waste water, have been largely eliminated in the US for major brands.
Buying Guide: What to look for
Eco-friendly laundry detergents that have been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency's Design for the Environment program.
Concentrated detergents generally have better environmental performance – 2X concentration is the minimum standard, but the more concentrated the better.
Cold water detergent reduces the amount of energy required per wash.
Clearly measurable dispensers such as a pump help minimize risk of overuse.
Plant based ingredients and enzymes over petroleum based solvents. Natural laundry detergent ingredients generate lower environmental impacts during manufacturing.
Scoring Personal Care and Household Chemical Products
GoodGuide counts the number of ingredients in each product that are categorized as low, medium or high health concern. We then factor in other negative information (such as regulatory restrictions) and any available positive information (such as third-party certifications) to assign product ratings.
To rate a personal care or household chemical product, GoodGuide considers the following attributes:
A health hazard rating based on the number of product ingredients categorized as low, medium or high health concern;
Indicators that the product exhibits other negative aspects (e.g., does the product contain ingredients that have been banned or subjected to regulatory restrictions);
Indicators that the product is among the best on the market in its category (e.g., has the product been certified as safe or healthy by a credible third-party);
Indicators of data gaps that preclude evaluation of the product (e.g., no or inadequate disclosure of product ingredients).
Categorizing Ingredients by Levels of Health Concern